Whole30 OAMC Freezer Menu



This was spawned by a combination of two things which piqued my interest:
  1. Once-a-month cooking (OAMC). The idea is, you spend one day cooking most of the meals you will eat for the month, then freeze them for later eating. I was initially introduced to this concept through the website Once a Month Mom.
  2. The Whole30 Program. This is a wildly-popular elimination diet in which many people choose to participate for 30 days. The idea is to assess your food sensitivities/intolerances while changing your eating habits for the better.
Make-ahead easy Thai curry with cauliflower rice
So the gears turned in my brain and I made a connection...once a month cooking...whole thirty...one month...30 days...heyyyyy wait a minute. You get the idea: OAMC for the month that you're doing the Whole 30. I figure that it would support adherence because it no longer becomes inconvenient. Just take a meal out of the freezer, thaw, and eat. Even if you are not doing a strict Whole 30, if you eat paleo/primal or low-carb this menu is suitable for you. 

Make-ahead Italian brunch bake
I read It Starts With Food, which is the definitive guide to the Whole 30, to ensure that I thoroughly understood the rules as well as the spirit. If you are choosing to actually do the program, I highly recommend reading the book, as it answered all of the questions I had (plus it has some awesome recipes in the appendix!). There are also a few free cheat sheets here on the authors' site.

Thus, I decided on the following guiding principles:
  1. Meals must fit the Whole30 Meal-Planning Template. Simply having "legal" ingredients is not sufficient.
  2. Along the same lines as (1), veggies must be included. 
  3. Veggies should be non-starchy. Sweet potatoes and similar are Whole 30 legal. However, it seems that most people have trouble getting enough fibrous veggies. Moreover, I've noticed that the bulk of freezer recipes just include starches (or no veggies at all). So I wanted to offer a unique perk. You can always add a baked sweet potato to your meals if you'd like, particularly for post-workout nutrition.
  4. Veggies should (mostly) be make-ahead. Most of the freezer meals I've seen which include non-starchy veggies require that the vegetables are prepared the day of serving. To me, this defeats the purpose. 
  5. No "alternative" flours like almond meal, coconut flour, milled flax, or arrowroot. This is somewhat arbitrary as Whole30 does not expressly forbid them (though paleo-tized fascimiles are verboten) but I felt like it was keeping in the spirit of the program to just leave them out.
  6. No hard-to-find ingredients. For example, you can technically get sugar-free bacon, but it's not something you can pick up at any supermarket.
  7. Meals should be easy to prepare, but tastier than a simple quick-fix.
  8. Reasonably inexpensive ingredients.
Slow-cooker chicken curry with greens
Tricia of Once a Month Mom wrote a series on how to create your own menu, which I used extensively as a reference. Some notes on how my menu ended up:
  • As per Tricia's recommendation, this makes 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 8 dinners, each of which will be eaten twice in the month. I assumed that this will be serving two people, so each recipe makes four servings to result in two meals. I decided to go with two people because I don't know anything about feeding kids. Sorry :( Feeding four people? Just double all the recipes. Serving only one? Recruit a friend who is doing a Whole 30, cook everything together, then divide the booty! 
  • You've likely deduced from the above that this does not make every single meal for thirty days. According to Tricia, this accounts for the fact that some nights you will "stick to PB&J, go out to eat, or be out of town". Likely you won't eat PB&J on Whole30 (unless it's in bunless burger form) and will rarely go out to eat. However, I'm sure there will be plenty of times that you're just making a quick fix like scrambled eggs or a pan-seared steak. But if you want more freezer meals, just increase the quantities.
  • What if it is too much food? Or you just don't feel like doing so much cooking on one day? Tricia gives directions for creating a mini menu from a larger one.
  • There ended up being a lot of chicken, but I noted some possible meat substitutions if you prefer.
  • All that being said, if you are altering recipe quantities or making substitutions just bear in mind that you will have to account for the changes yourself as I do not do so in the instructions.
  • I assumed that all crock pot recipes will be cooked the day of serving, rather than frozen after cooking, because it is so easy to do.
  • Here is a list of lots of resources to help you with OAMC.
Now, onto the recipes!

Menu
Instructions for your big cooking day are available in this Google Doc

Breakfasts
Lunches
Dinners
Are you a person who likes to see menus visually? Check out the Whole30 OAMC menu on Pinterest.

34 comments:

krys said...

This is the most amazing thing ever.

Erica said...

Thank ya! :D

Patty said...

A work of art Erica!! On top of the cooking skills, you have to be pretty organized to pull something like this off.

Tess said...

This is absolute brilliance.

Erica said...

Thanks Patty! I usually just do once-a-WEEK-cooking, but I figured I'd make a month-long menu for a Whole30 duration :)

Erica said...

@Tess: Thank you! :D

Janelle Deeds said...

EXCELLENT! Work well done. Yes, thank you ;)!

Sarah B. said...

You are a genius! I was OAMC-ing pretty regularly, but recently my husband and I have been trying to eat a more paleo, grain-free diet. Since then, I've been having a hard time figuring out what kind of meals will freeze well. Which means I'm cooking almost every night again, which is even more of a pain now with a 6 month old baby at home. I've been losing my mind! Freezer meals would be so much easier, but the idea of amassing a whole month's worth of specialty diet, grain-free, freezable meals seemed too daunting. Now you've done the work for me! You are my favorite thing ever! I can't wait to go cook this whole menu! Thank you!

Erica said...

@Janelle: Glad you liked it!

@Sarah: Awesome, please let me know if you make it! I didn't make everything all at once because it took time to develop all the recipes, so I'd be very interested to hear how a full OAMC day goes :)

Esther said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I'm about to give my second attempt at Whole30 a go and I need it to be as easy to do as possible so I can make it through this time. OAMC is something that has helped me during my busy seasons in the past...I'm totally giving this a go!

MF said...

I did the whole menu yesterday. It all smells great! It didn't make anywhere near enough food to cover a whole month, but I'm excited to see how this plays out. Thanks, Erica, for all you work!

Erica said...

@MF: Too cool!! I hope you like it :)

NewGrok said...

This is so great. Thank you SO much for sharing this. I'm about to start my Whole30 and have been a little worried about cooking paleo every time I eat. This is PERFECT. Great blog, by the way. I came directly here via Reddit (r/paleo), and I haven't been here yet. I'll add it as another great resource for this new (to me) lifestyle!

Erica said...

@NewGrok: Awesome, and good luck with your Whole30!

Teryn said...

Thank you for posting this! I just stumbled on your site via pinterest and I couldn't be more thrilled! I've been struggling with meal planning and paleo and now I can't wait to get cookin!

Erica said...

@Teryn: Good to hear, hope this makes your transition to paleo a little easier :)

Jensie Simkins said...

This is amazing. We have finished our first Whole30 and our biggest complaint is how much time it takes COOKING. I have other things to do!

Are you going to do any more menus? How long did this take to coordinate?

Erica said...

@Jensie: It took me a while to coordinate the menu because I wanted to test not only the recipes, but also the freezing and reheating. So that was pretty tricky and I made a lot of the recipes multiple times before I got them right. I have plans to release a smaller mini-menu, one that will make a week's worth of meals and focuses on easy prep, as a LOT of people felt that this one is too much work. I'll probably post that when I'm done with my Thanksgiving posts. After that, there's a good chance of me doing another OAMC in the spring, because seasonal ingredients will be very different then.

Nicole said...

Maybe I am just missing it but is there a Google Doc or link to a printable page with all the recipes together or do I need to click and print from each post individually?

Erica said...

Hey Nicole, no there is not a single printable; however you can input the recipe URLs into a site like printfriendly.com

Lorraine said...

This is so great Erica. I'm sorry if I'm guilty of skimming, but I was wondering if you could give me a ball park idea of how long your cooking day took?

Erica said...

@Lorraine: I didn't end up doing this myself all in one day, because I was testing different recipes and freezing methods as I devised them so I couldn't really do it all at once. The salmon recipe alone took me three tries to get it right! But definitely set aside a full day if you do the whole OAMC.

Edna Rohr said...

They all look so delicious! By any chance can you give any suggestions that could make these foods lesser in cholesterol content? I'm currently following a strict diet right now and even so, I would still like to eat some tasteful dishes such as this one.

Claire Dalgleish said...

I will start this whole30 meal planning next month. I need to lose weight because I’m starting to have unpleasant looking love handles.

Gladys Knight said...

Oh my!! It's sweets overload, I love all of them! But as much as possible, I'm avoiding carbs and sugar-filled foods because, the dietary program I'm in right now, to keep my body fit and healthy.

Larry Ward said...

Though the foods were kept in a freezer, is it still possible for all those foods to be spoiled? I'll ask someone who is an expert when it comes to cooking about this.

Ronnie Tran said...

I think I have the most crazy experience when it comes to dating. I remember this one time that I have my first date. We did not finish eating what we ordered and what I did on our leftover is to take it home and kept in a fridge and ate it the following day.

Helena D. Svendsen said...

The challenge doesn’t sound appetizing at all. I will give this a try and see if I can save more money and if it’s a healthier option.

Tricia@onceamonthmom.com said...

Great menu! We are actually moving to having several of our future paleo menus be whole30 compliant as well so you won't have to do all this hard work yourself! :)

colonizethemoon said...

Awesome resource!! Thanks!

UltraMomma said...

GENIUS! Thank you so much. I eat paleo, the rest of my family does not. I'll use this to cook my food ahead of time so I'm not constantly making two dinners... that is, until I get the rest of the family on board ;)

xxSunflowergalxx said...

The link for the google doc isn't working for me. It could be an issue on my end; not sure.

oceansailor said...

Thank you so much for putting this all together. I've always been curious about OAMC and decided after falling off the paleo wagon for the past 6 months to try a Whole 30. Cooking dinner is always when I get lazy and slip so this will be so helpful. It took me 12 hours total (4 hours prep on Saturday and 8 on Sunday) but I doubled all the breakfast and 1 lunch recipe and prepped/froze a TON of chicken breasts for weekly snacks. I am only on day 8 but so far LOVED the coffee braised beef w/cauli mash and the Italian Bake. Can't wait to try the rest!

JAM3124 said...

This is probably an oversight on my part, but I am new to freezer cooking and am a bit overwhelmed! About to start my 2nd Whole30 and this is great because it about killed me the first time cooking every night, and it's just for myself, husband and 4 year old. I looked on onceamonthmeals.com for help, but got even more overwhelmed! Just have a few questions:
1. When you say 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 8 dinners and eat twice that month, are you saying that it is really 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 16 dinners (x4 servings each?).
2. I am assuming the The "Whole30 OAMC instructions" is not an exhausted list of groceries needed, just protein and veggies needed? The "Recipe Distiller" will give an exhausted list?
3. How many containers would you recommend?
4. I was reading on the OAMC website about multiple crockpots, but the Whole30 Instructions did not seem to need them. Am I missing something?
5. Can I do this in multiple days or should it all be done night before and in one full day? I have a 4 year old and 1 year old and teach Saturday mornings :/

Thank you so much for doing this, and I'm sorry I have so many questions! I just want to do this next Whole30 right and without being sleep deprived from food prep each day. Thanks again!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Facebook Pinterest RSS email More

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | JCpenney Printable Coupons